Audit Rewind: Ryan Chittum’s Best of 2008

Looking back at the year that was in business journalism

1) My Foreclosure Two years into the housing bust, with millions put out of their houses, we sometimes go numb to the reality of what it means to lose your home. So I wrote about—with the benefit of hindsight and the perspective of a business journalist—my family losing our house fifteen years ago.

2) My Foreclosure: Judgment and Empathy That story drew a lot of feedback, so I wrote this response.

3) The Grave Dancer Sam Zell’s deal for Tribune was in trouble from the beginning. This story (along with a great infographic by The New York Times’s Hannah Fairfield) looked at the crushing debt he loaded on the company and how the complex leveraged buyout worked.

4) Tomato, “Toe-mahto,” TIAA-CREF Malcolm Berko has been writing his financial-advice column for years. But a review of his columns caught him making some major factual errors and found the disclosure on his potential conflicts of interest was out of date.

5) 5 Crisis Questions for the Press As Wall Street collapsed in September, I listed some questions the press should be asking in its coverage. I’m still waiting on some of them.

6) Note to CNBC: Breathe I did a double-take when I heard Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett on CNBC going off the deep end during the September stock crash. Cramer wondered whether the woes were due to “financial terrorism” and Burnett called short sellers “unpatriotic.” Fortunately, I had Tivo or I might not have believed what I’d heard the first time.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.